Massive by Ian Sample

The physics book generating the most bloggy buzz in the latter part of 2010 would have to be Ian Sample’s Massive: The Missing Particle that Sparked the Greatest Hunt in Science, about the as yet undetected particle known as the Higgs boson. Detecting the Hiigs is the most immediate goal of the Large Hadron Collider, […]

Possibly Stupid Question: Why All These Extra Particles?

I’ve reached a point in the book-in-progress where I find myself needing to talk a little about particle physics. As this is very much not my field, this quickly led to a situation where the dog asked a question I can’t answer. But, hey, that’s why I have a blog with lots of smart readers… […]

The Status of Simulations

Most of what would ordinarily be blogging time this morning got used up writing a response to a question at the Physics Stack Exchange. But having put all that effort in over there, I might as well put it to use here, too… The question comes from a person who did a poster on terminology […]

Poll: Top Physics Story of 2010?

It’s the last week of the (calendar) year, which means it’s a good time to recap the previous twelve months worth of scientific news. Typically, publications like Physics World will publish a list of top ten physics stories of 2010, but we’re all Web 2.0 these days, so it seems more appropriate to put this […]

Dinosaurs Are Too Easy

Earlier this week, there was some interesting discussion of science communication in the UK branch of the science blogosphere. I found it via Alun Salt’s “Moving beyond the ‘One-dinosaur-fits-all’ model of science communication” which is too good a phrase not to quote, and he spun off two posts from Alice Bell, at the Guardian blog […]

Why Would Anybody in Their Right Mind Build the LHC?

In the comments following the silly accelerator poll, onymous wrote: [T]he point of the LHC isn’t to discover the Higgs. No one in their right minds would build a 14 TeV pp collider if their only goal was to discover the Higgs. While it’s true that the ultimate goal of the LHC is to discover […]

Protons: Even Smaller Than We Thought

The big physics story at the moment is probably the new measurement of the size of the proton, which is reported in this Nature paper (which does not seem to be on the arxiv, alas). This is kind of a hybrid of nuclear and atomic physics, as it’s a spectroscopic measurement of a quasi-atom involving […]

Through the Wormhole

The Science Channel debuted a new show last night, Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, with the premier apparently designed by committee to piss off as many Internet types as possible. The overall theme was “Is there a creator?” and it featured physicist-turned-Anglican-priest John Polkinghorne talking about fine-tuning but no atheist rebuttal. It spent a […]

Exploring Hidden Dimensions at the World Science Festival

Since I was going to be down here anyway to sign books at the World Science Festival Street Fair, Kate and I decided to catch one of the Saturday events at the Festival. It was hard to choose, but we opted for the program on Hidden Dimensions: Exploring Hyperspace (Live coverage was here, but the […]

Inconstant Constants: “Probing fundamental constant evolution with redshifted conjugate-satellite OH lines”

Via Jennifer Ouellette on Twitter, I ran across a Discovery News story touting a recent arxiv preprint claiming to see variation in the fine-structure constant. It’s a basically OK story, but garbles a few details, so I thought it would be worth giving it the ResearchBlogging treatment, in the now-traditional Q&A format. What did they […]